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Matt Collin joined CGD Europe in January 2014. His research focused on illicit financial flows (along with Vijaya Ramachandran), the adoption and impact of property rights in developing countries and the role of property rights in large scale land consolidation. His work included investigating the impact of ethnic sorting on formalisation behaviour, the effort of neighbour decisions on land title adoption, and the impact of conditional subsidies on gender equity in land ownership. Matt holds a D.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford and previously worked at the Centre for the Study of African Economies and as an ODI Fellow in the Ministry of Finance, Malawi. He writes a personal blog on aid and development at aidthoughts.org and is on Twitter as @Aidthoughts.
Islamic law lays down detailed rules regulating the upbringing of children. In this month's Sandwich Seminar, Marco Alfano examines the effect of these rules on parental behaviour by exploiting a unique natural experiment: the introduction of Sharia law in 13 northern Nigerian states in 2000.
The World Bank recently released the results of two separate surveys aimed at gauging the extent to which de-risking is a problem. The headline result is that banks around the world are closing accounts of money transfer organizations (MTOs) and are severing links with banks in other countries. These careful, timely reports provide crucial evidence that de-risking is a very real phenomenon and that we should be worried about it.
Money laundering, terrorism financing and sanctions violations by individuals, banks and other financial entities are serious offenses with significant negative consequences for rich and poor countries alike. Governments have taken important steps to address these offenses. Efforts by international organizations, the US, UK and others to combat money laundering and curb illicit financial flows are a necessary step to increase the safety of the financial system and improve security, both domestically and around the world. But the policies that have been put in place to counter financial crimes may also have unintentional and costly consequences, in particular for people in poor countries. Those most affected are likely to include the families of migrant workers, small businesses that need to access working capital or trade finance, and recipients of life-saving aid in active-conflict, post-conflict or post-disaster situations. And sometimes, current policies may be self-defeating to the extent that they reduce the transparency of financial flows.
The FAO’s Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) released an assessment of external remittances to Somalia, based on a survey of both urban and internally-displaced families. The headline result from the report was that apparently remittances were on the decline, but the FSNAU survey doesn’t actually tell us much about how remittance flows to Somalia have changed in the past six months.
Proponents of the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in impact evaluation and development research often point out the close link between these trials and their clinical counterparts in the world of medical research.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the British Virgin Islands, you might have heard of the massive leak of documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm whose services included helping its clients create shell corporations and store their assets in offshore tax havens. In addition to a torrent of political scandals and crises, the leak has resulted in a renewed rallying cry to reform the international tax system. But aside from the political implications, the Panama Papers have the potential to help us better understand two things: what kinds of countries do these offshore firms do business with and are the tools we use for determining the relative risks of hidden cash any good?
Cash transfers might be the next big thing in international development. Yet our analysis of new survey data suggests that public support for cash transfers is modest and fragile. Donors—who are poised to leverage a promising new way of delivering aid to do more good for less money—must continue to make the public case for cash transfers, and continue to present the remarkably strong evidence that they are not misspent.
In a few weeks’ time Australia’s Westpac bank will start closing down the accounts of money transfer organizations used by immigrants to send money home. Westpac is the last major Australian bank still offering services to organizations in the country’s US$25bn remittance sector.